Do You Experience Bail-Out Motions When You Move?

When we move we don’t really know how we move, we just do it. It’s a little different in the gym as we use coaching cues to direct our movement but even then we don’t often control the subtleties of our movement.

What Are Bail-Out Movements?

If we’re moving and we reach a point where we run out of strength, range or stability, we can experience a bail-out movement. This is your body’s way of continuing the movement task by changing the way your body is moving.

Do you experience bail-out motions when you move?
Do you experience bail-out motions when you move?

Good examples of bail out movements are:

  • Leaning forward in a squat
  • The squat ‘butt wink’
  • Arching the back in a press
  • A foot that spins out in gait

If you are moving and experience a bail-out movement there could be a number of reasons for it, including a lack of mobility, stability, strength or co-ordination.

If you experience a bailout motion in a movement, you’ve just experienced a skill change.

Why We Experience Bail-Out Movements

We experience bail-out motions when we move because it’s our body’s way of finding easiest path to move to complete the task at hand using the form we are trying to use, if any.

Sometimes the form or technique we are trying to use can be changed with better coaching to get a better outcome and other times we may need to go bit deeper to address long-term movement habits.

Here are a few questions to ask when looking at movement with the aim of improving it:

  • What is the desired outcome of the movement? (GOAL)
  • What skill (biomechanics) are you currently using? (SKILL)
  • How well do you use this skill? (SKILL LEVEL)

If you can match the outcome to the right skill and skill level you have a good movement.

Matching The Goal, Skill And Skill Level

If there’s a movement that you can perform well, at the level you want and that produces the outcome you want, you’ve matched the goal, the skill and the skill level.

If there’s a movement that you can perform but your form is poor (inefficient biomechanics), you’ve matched the goal and skill level but not the skill. In other words you’ve performed a poor skill well enough to achieve your goal, but to hit your next goal (eg. more weight) you would probably need to work on your skill (biomechanics). If you didn’t work on your skill you would probably get a more pronounced movement compensation to achieve the goal.

So essentially skill analysis in a performance setting is a HUGE part of performance training.

In performance, fatigue is also important to look at. If there’s a movement that you can perform well when you’re fresh but less well when you’re fatigued you need to look at fatigue management and it’s relation to skill.

Building A Performance Training Strategy

Using the thought process of matching the skill, skill level and outcome can help you define where your movement and/or performance problems lie and can help you get a training strategy in place to help you hit your goals.

If you have a skill problem (movement sequencing) or skill level problem (eg speed of execution) this needs to be worked on before performance is measured as measuring performance first and foremost would allow for poor skill to go un-addressed leading to a breakdown in form and even injury.

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